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Kelowna city councillor creates campaign to help small business, charities hit by COVID-19

Coronavirus: Grass roots initiatives launched to support Okanagan businesses
A family in Summerland, B.C. and Kelowna city councillor, Loyal Wooldridge have started grass roots initiatives to support local businesses in the Okanagan.

A new campaign launched Monday in Kelowna to help both local businesses and charities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MADE IN YLW was conceptualized by Loyal Wooldridge, city councillor and business owner himself.

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“With the province of B.C. easing restrictions on various businesses, many are looking to reopen and emerge stronger than ever, but they have to overcome the hurdle of cash flow,” Wooldridge said.

“These past few months, retailers and charities have faced closures or significant operational reductions to do their part to ‘flatten the curve.’ Now, they have to rebuild and reinvent themselves in order to survive.”

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The goal of MADE IN YLW is to inspire people to shop local through promotional shirts and bags.

“It’s the power of community,” said Wooldridge. “We worked together for the physical health of the community. Now it’s our opportunity to use that same energy of community to work on our economic health.”

Wooldridge, who owns Loyal Hair Salon, partnered with graphic designer Ignite Design and sign and print shop Fleek Factory to develop and produce shirts and market bags that promote support of local business.

The MADE in YLW campaign involves retailers selling locally produced shirts and bags and keeping 50 per cent of the profits.
The MADE in YLW campaign involves retailers selling locally produced shirts and bags and keeping 50 per cent of the profits. Contributed

You Are Collective, an Okanagan-based social enterprise that creates empowering clothing for people dealing with mental health challenges, also stepped up to the plate with wholesale and retail orders.

Retailers can purchase the products at cost and offer them to their customers at an affordable price and keep up to 50 per cent of the profit to help offset COVID-19 losses.

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Rebecca Steinhubl, co-founder of You Are Collective, said the campaign hits home for her.

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“We’re so grateful to be part of this campaign. It speaks to everything we stand for in uniting and supporting the community,” Steinhubl said.

“We’ve felt the challenges and pressures during these times, both personally and as a small business. Any way we can let people know that they’re not in this alone — we want to help!”

A portion of the proceeds from each shirt and bag sold will be donated to YMCA Okanagan.

“This initiative couldn’t come at a better time both for businesses who have suffered during the pandemic closures and charities like the YMCA, who now, more than ever, will need solid footing in order to lift those most impacted by the COVID health and economic challenges,” said board director Amy Gopal.

The shirts and bags will be available to the public in the coming weeks and will retail for $40 a shirt and $10 a bag.

Five dollars from every shirt and $1 from every bag will benefit the YMCA.